Herbs & Remedies for Morning Sickness

morning sickness.jpgNausea is probably one of the most well known, despised early pregnancy symptoms that many women experience. I have to say, the term morning sickness is a sad misnomer as nausea can affect pregnant women alllllll throughout the day. It can also be an issue well past the first trimester. With all three of my pregnancies I have experienced all day nausea from about 8-20ish weeks of pregnancy. It is exhausting and frustrating because it interferes with being able to cook for your family, be anywhere that smells like food (ruins the carnival for sure!) and eat healthy to support yourself, the new baby, and any little ones you happen to be nursing.

I mainly subsided off of sourdough bread and organic peanut butter, PB& Js, the random protein shake that didn’t make me gag, and occasionally a few tablespoons of sauerkraut or a little salad during those weeks. I may have been able to eat more than I did but even things like oatmeal or applesauce would make me throw up almost immediately, so I wasn’t feeling very adventurous & stuck to what worked.

I’ll say ahead of time that none of these remedies I included below worked for me (some I didn’t know about). After 2 miserably nauseous pregnancies, I was really hoping to be prepared with some effective natural remedies for my third one. Oddly enough, I was actually trying to put together this series on pregnancy & herbs when I found out I was pregnant this last time (already about 7 weeks along.) I was almost exclusively breastfeeding my 7.5 month old and wasn’t expecting to get pregnant, so we had a few days of being surprised & excited then the nausea set in full force. Thus, I either didn’t know about these remedies to try them, or I tried them & they didn’t work for me.

The one bit of encouragement I can offer is that I am proof that you can do the best you can getting nutrition when nothing will stay down and nurse a baby at the same time and still have healthy kids! You might be completely exhausted, but they seem to take what they need from your body. It’s not ideal, but you can get through it and ultimately enjoy your little blessings!

So, here are some herbal & nutritional remedies recommended, as well as some of my coping mechanisms that might help you out. Obviously, I am not giving medical advice, just sharing some things that I have learned, don’t want to forget, and want to have on hand so I’m better prepared for my next pregnancy! Always run these things by your midwife or doctor and do your own research to ultimately be confident in your health choices.

Herbs & Remedies to Try:

  – Ginger: Ginger is ALWAYS the first thing anyone suggests. Rosemary Gladstar describes it as an, “old-time favorite for nausea, morning sickness, and motion sickness.” She suggests simmering 1-2 tsp per cup of water for a few minutes to make a tea, then adding honey & lemon to taste. You can also take ginger in capsules throughout the day, or add dried powdered ginger to your drinks.

– Wild Yam Root: This is something that I did not know about, but I wish I had! It is described as one of the best remedies for morning sickness. (Herbal Healing for Women) Because it works as a tonic that balances hormones and tones the liver, (no instant relief) most women find it most helpful to take small amounts in a tea or tincture throughout the day. Continue for a few days to let your body get the full benefit before deciding whether or not it works for you.

  -Peppermint and Chamomile tea. Again, this didn’t work for me, but both these herbs are traditional treatments for upset stomach. For someone who enjoys tea and perhaps isn’t as severely nauseas this may be comforting.

– Catnip & fennel: These two herbs are components of gripe water, which is used to soothe infants’ tummies when they are gassy or upset. Out of curiosity I tried these mixed together, but didn’t really see any relief.

– Getting enough minerals. Sometimes morning sickness can be a result of a mineral deficiency. Steven Horne of The ABC Herbal strongly suggests using herbal minerals during pregnancy to help maintain healthy iron and calcium levels. Their midwife, Joan Patton, makes a blend of mineral rich herbs such as red raspberry, oatstraw, alfalfa, etc. to give to her clients to help them maintain healthy trace mineral levels.

– Taking your multi-vitamin and prenatals. I have friends who swear by using this to eliminate their morning sickness & tell me they can see a clear difference in their energy levels when they take their multi-vitamin. This makes sense, as morning sickness can be caused by a lack of B vitamins especially. Make sure the multi & prenatal you are taking is bio-available and made of whole, real ingredients. I am hoping to do a post on good prenatal vitamins, as well as making your own from herbs as a part of this series on herbs and pregnancy. Unfortunately the only difference I saw when I tried taking a multi was that I threw up my expensive multivitamin also.

Things I have found helpful when dealing with nausea:

– Drink lots of water. As your pregnancy progresses, you will need more water to stay hydrated. Over the past few years of pregnancies and breastfeeding I, like many young moms, have found myself with a water bottle within arm’s reach 24/7. Try to add organic lemon and a tiny pinch of real salt to help prevent all the water you are drinking from flushing out the minerals you need to stay healthy. Also, I found that I would be sick just from cooking or smelling food, even if there was nothing really in my stomach, and drinking plenty of water diluted the stomach bile a bit and made it burn my throat less. Gross, but helpful.

  – Find what works and stick with it. So I may not have been getting the most well rounded diet, but, eventually I found what worked for me and was able to eliminate some of the actual sickness by eating only the things that agreed with me. When trying to cope with other early pregnancy symptoms like exhaustion and still take care of your family, every little bit helps. Eat super healthy and take your vitamins, protein shakes etc. when you can and be ok with not being able to if you really just can’t stomach it at the moment.

– Use the crockpot somewhere the smell won’t bother you! I would throw everything I needed for a soup or stew in the crockpot in the early afternoon when I felt the best, then put it outside on the porch or in a far spare bedroom to cook so I wouldn’t have to smell it. My husband could just serve himself & the kids, and I could hide out in our bedroom while they ate if necessary.

– Cook in bulk so you don’t have to smell food for as long. Bigger batches or little batches generally take the same amount of time to prepare and smell the same. I could cook a few days worth of oatmeal for my girls and put it in the fridge then quickly heat it up on the stove and it worked better than cooking a fresh batch every day. This worked especially well for meat.

Look Forward to the Prize!

As of writing this, I am now at 25 weeks and things have gotten much better! My 13 month old weaned herself about 6 weeks ago, I can eat meat again, and have been able to even enjoy our homegrown duck eggs with my girls for breakfast in the morning. Regardless of how long it lasts, be encouraged that your “morning” sickness will end eventually and even when pregnancy is rough, the reward is totally worth it! I will update this post with additional remedies as I learn about them; please feel free to leave a comment with any and all tips and remedies that have helped you combat morning sickness during your pregnancies!

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